"Anyone knows how long has the Admiralty recycling point been in operation?”
Upon hearing this question put forth by Sister Khoo Lee Lian, the recycling volunteers invariably answered her with “It’s now a year old!”
In the sunny morning of 11 Apr 2010, 122 cheerful volunteers and residents gathered at the Admiralty recycling point at the void deck of Block 682B, Woodlands Drive and started off the day by sorting out the items collected according to the type of material they were made from.
In order to bear witness for the efforts put in by the volunteers and public supporters over the past one year, the district volunteers specially put up a mini ‘Appreciation Exhibit’ at a corner of the recycling point. Besides showcasing information on recycling and reusable items, the most eye-catching item of the exhibit is the photographs flashback and their corresponding writing.
The photographs presented brilliantly captured the moments when the volunteers and residents were in actions doing their part for environmental protection. On top of that, it is encouraging to see that there is a gradual increase in the collection of used cloths and papers. If a 20-year-old tree is able to produce 50 kilograms of papers, the total amount of used papers collected over the past one year from the recycling point was equivalent to saving 258 trees from being chopped down. At the same time, it also helps to reduce the wastes.
"It’s very touching to see how we have grown over the past year!”
"See! That’s a picture of me!”
"I’m so grateful to the volunteers for their dedication!”
Some of the volunteers and residents went to the exhibit together and shared with each other their thoughts. There were also some residents who were very happy to see that they were among those with their moments captured and on display. The heartwarming moment felt by the people from the mini exhibit was not from the photographs, but rather the unity and perseverance among them that bought about the success for all the recycling activities conducted.
The day also saw quite a number of residents taking part in the recycling activity for the first time. Among them were husband-and-wife Huo Tian Xiang and Ye Xiu Li, whose concern over how global warming is affecting Mother Earth rubbed off from Huo’s environmentally-conscious sister. The couple thus decided to do their part for the environment and it was the internet search that has landed them at the Admiralty recycling point that day.
A test of wisdom and patience
Since the establishment of the recycling point, things often didn’t go according to plan from time to time and this inevitably put the wisdom and patience of the volunteers to the test, which eventually help in the personal development of the volunteers. Brother Zhen Yao, committee member of North Zone Recycling Committee, was one good example of those who had benefitted from the ‘training’.
Initially, he would get frustrated easily but now he is able to stay calm and adapt well to the changes. “I was quite worried when the recycling point was first established, but I am very grateful now that the success of the recycling point came from our collective effort,” he shared.
He also expressed that over the past year; it was through word of mouth by the residents and the volunteers going from door-to-door to promote the recycling activity. Now, the residents already have a certain level of knowledge on recycling. Instead of requesting for the volunteers to go to their home to collect the recyclable items, they would bring the items to the recycling point themselves.
"One piece of paper can save the world!"
Under the guidance of the volunteers, a group of recycling vanguards would always turn up for the monthly recycling activity; some would also invite their families and friends to join in. Among them is Lucy, who had been volunteering at the previous Tzu Chi recycling point (Block 718) near her home since 2008. Although operation for that recycling point was suspended in May 2009, she remained resolute and turned up at the recycling point with her family when the new Block 682D point was set up.
Lucy and the nearby residents are well acquainted. While the recycling point is known amongst the residents, they would leave the recyclable items at Lucy’s home prior to the recycling day and she would sort out the items accordingly to minimize the burden on the recycling volunteers. On the recycling day itself, volunteers would then deliver the items to the recycling point.
Working as a temporary staff at a kindergarten, Lucy always gets upset when she saw the little children threw the paper away. One day, she decided to take the initiative to educate the teachers and children to sort out the different paper types for recycling. The “movement” is still going strong presently.
Her son, who was deeply influenced by her, also expressed his enjoyment from doing recycling. Besides being able to make friends, the knowledge gained can also be brought to school to be shared with his schoolmates and hopefully they too will follow suit.
Brother Long Shi Quan had been volunteering with Tzu Chi for many years but his maiden participation with recycling started just six months ago. He revealed that the constant involvement till now has provided him a better understanding that Buddhism is not just about retreat or meditation, it is also about giving back to society.
A simple thought translated into actions can influence people around. Over the year, the Admiralty recycling point can be likened to a garden in the community. The volunteers are the diligent gardeners who consistently spread the seeds of Great Love. Master Cheng Yen said “In order to transform the climate, we need to first transform the minds.” While in the process of doing recycling, one is actually ‘purifying’ his mind, having learnt to hold down material desires and start living a simple life. We hope that the unusual variation of the climate can be overcome with the thriving of the seeds of goodness and love. May we work together to spread the message spread far and wide.
Translated by Roger Seen
Photos by Wong Twee Hee
Source: Tzu Chi Foundation Singapore Brunch
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